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THE    CHINESE    CHARACTER               53

Chinese literature from becoming a mere collection of eulogies
on the imperial virtues and a rehash of moral exhortations.
All good Chinese literature, all Chinese literature that is worth
while, that is readable, and that pleases the human mind and
soothes the human heart is essentially imbued with this
Taoistic spirit. Taoism and Confucianism are the negative
and positive poles of Chinese thought which make life possible
in China.

The Chinese are by nature greater Taoists than they are
by culture Confucianists. As a people, we are great enough to
draw up an imperial code, based on the conception of essential
justice, but we are also great enough to distrust lawyers and
law courts. Ninety-five per cent of legal troubles are settled
out of court. We are great enough to make elaborate rules
of ceremony, but we are also great enough to treat them as
part of the great joke of life, which explains the great feasting
and merry-making at Chinese funerals. We are great enough
to denounce vice, but we are also great enough not to be
surprised or disturbed by it. We are great enough to start
successive waves of revolutions, but we are also great enough
to compromise and go back to the previous patterns of govern-
ment. We are great enough to elaborate a perfect system of
official impeachment, and civil service, and traffic regulations,
and library reading-room rules, but we are also great enough
to break all systems, to ignore them, circumvent them, play
with them, and become superior to them. We do not teach
our young in the colleges a course of political science, showing
how a government is supposed to be run, but we teach them
by daily example how our municipal, provincial and central
governments are actually run. We have no use for impracticable
idealism, as we have no patience for doctrinaire theology. We
do not teach our young to become like the sons of God, but
we teach them to behave like sane, normal human beings.
That is why I believe that the Chinese are essentially human-
ists and Christianity must fail in China, or it must be altered
beyond recognition before it can be accepted. The only
part of Christian teachings which will be truly accepted by the
Chinese people is Christ's injunction to be "harmless as doves"
but "wise as serpents." For these two virtues, dove-like gentle-